Almost every female has increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This phenomenon is quite normal and occurs for a couple of reasons. During pregnancy there is softening of the neck of the uterus (cervix) and the vaginal walls. The discharge from the vagina increases so as to help in the prevention of any infection reaching up the womb from the vagina. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the amount of vaginal discharge increases and it can be confusing.
36 Weeks Pregnant Discharge, What Does It Mean
As already mentioned, it is quite normal to have increased discharge from the vagina during pregnancy. The discharge that you are noticing is normal leucorrhea-the mild smelling or odorless discharge, milky in color that you may be having before you were pregnant. Now that you are pregnant, the quantity is increased, partly due to an increase in the production of estrogen hormone and partly due to the greater flow of blood to the vaginal area. The contents of this discharge are the secretions from the vagina and the cervix, old cells from the vaginal walls and normal bacteria present in the vagina.
The vaginal discharge may increase in quantity as your labor becomes near, though, it is very likely that the 36 weeks pregnant discharge looks somewhat different from the discharge you have been having till now.
It Can be the Mucus Plug
During the early pregnancy, your cervical canal is filled with cervical secretions, thereby, creating a protective barrier--referred to as the mucus plug. As the cervix starts to thin out or efface and open up or dilate, the mucus may be expelled and the vaginal discharge may look like the white of an egg or mucus expelled during a runny nose from a cold or flu. The mucus plug may also be expelled in one gelatinous blob. This vaginal discharge might be tinged with slight blood. This phenomenon is referred to as a “show” and is a sign that your body is beginning to prepare for delivery. Few small shows are normal to happen in the days before you deliver the baby.
What Should I Do?
If the vaginal discharge during pregnancy is not occurring because of an infection, there is nothing much that can be done to stop the flow. If the flow is excessive you can utilize panty liners to absorb the discharge. Avoid using tampons while you are pregnant.
Keep your genital area clean and healthy.
Always wipe from front towards back.
Wear cotton undergarments.
It is recommended to avoid nylons, tight pants, bubble bath, feminine hygiene sprays, scented pads or toilet paper and scented soaps.
Avoid douching-it is known to upset the normal balance of vaginal bacterial flora and increase the risk of infection of the vagina. Moreover, douching is discouraged during pregnancy by midwives and doctors as in some rare cases, air may be introduced into the circulatory system by the vagina, leading to serious complications.
When Is It a Sign to Call the Doctor or Midwife?
If a lot of clear, thin discharge occurs, it can be difficult for you to determine whether it is just mucus discharge or there is leakage of amniotic fluid. In case of any doubt, it is best to consult your doctor or midwife.
If you have any of the following symptoms, call your midwife or doctor right away:
You notice an increase in 36 weeks pregnant discharge (you have not reached 37th week of pregnancy) or the nature of the discharge changes, for example, it becomes mucus-like, watery, or bloody-even if there is a bit of pink or brown old blood. These are signs of preterm labor.
You have a discharge that is odorless and whitish that is associated with discomfort, for example, pain during urination or during sex, itching, soreness or burning-or there is inflammation of the vulva. This implies that you may have developed a yeast infection.
You have a thin gray or white discharge that has a fishy smell after intercourse. This can be another kind of infection referred to as bacterial vaginosis.
You have a discharge that is green or yellow and frothy with an unpleasant smell. This could indicate a common sexually transmitted infection, trichomoniasis. Other symptoms of the infection include a itchy, red, irritated vagina or vulva and discomfort during sex and urinating.
You have a discharge that smells foul and is frothy or green, yellow or gray. You might have other vaginal or sexually transmitted infections even without symptoms of itching, irritation or burning.
If the discharge is occurring due to an infection, it is recommended to not treat it yourself with the help of over-the-counter medications. Visit a physician for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What Others Have Experienced
“Increased vaginal discharge during the last few weeks of pregnancy is normal. I wore pads during the end of my pregnancy as there was so much discharge. You should keep an eye for very thick discharge as that could be a show; however, that doesn’t necessarily imply that the baby is coming.”
“I think that increased discharge from the vagina after 36th week of pregnancy is quite normal…….so many weird things occur during pregnancy. I had lots and lots of discharge. You just have to be on the lookout for mucus, it is usually quite stringy, thick, and stretchy; can be pink, bloody, clear, brown or green.”
“I am 36 weeks and I have thick clear/white discharge most of the time. I think, even if you have passed your mucus plug at this time, but so long no contractions are following, and there is no discharge of blood then you are fine. Even if you have passed your plug, it could still take a couple of weeks before labor sets in.”